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D’Eon Oyster Company

In the tranquil waters of Eel Lake, a vision took root in 1996 when Nolan D’Eon, a seasoned mariner, decided to shift his focus to the shallows. Opting for the stability of shore over the undulating sea, Nolan sold his lobster gear and turned his gaze to the brackish waters of Eel Lake.

The Birth of D’Eon Oyster Company

With no prior experience in oyster farming but driven by a pioneering spirit, he secured a lease and embarked on a journey that would redefine oyster cultivation in Southwestern Nova Scotia.

Overcoming the low success rates that plagued the region’s oyster farming, Nolan’s persistence paid off as his oysters flourished, and the demand soared. Embracing the moniker “The Oysterman,” Nolan grew not just oysters but a legacy, with his family by his side, and expanded to an impressive 50-acre lease, pioneering with floating culture technology and setting new standards for the future of sustainable shellfish aquaculture.

A Garden in the Ocean

Nolan’s son, Colton, speaks of a childhood unlike his peers. While other children spent their summers mowing lawns, Colton learned to nurture the oysters just as one would care for a garden, but with the tides as his backdrop. The father-son duo take pride in their work, cherishing the ability to be on the water yet always close to home.

Community and Transparency

The D’Eons’ commitment to transparency has resonated well within their community, leading to strong support for their expansions, including the addition of new leases. Their operations have become a celebrated part of the local industry, adding to the region’s rich fishing traditions.

Innovation on the Water: The Barge

2016 marked a turning point for D’Eon, with the introduction of an innovative, solar-powered barge. The barge was born out necessity after D’Eon added a new lease in Salt Bay. Harvesting one line of oysters containing 90 bags required travelling by boat out to the line and harvesting the bags, returning to the wharf, unloading the bags by hand, stacking them on a trailer, and then taking them to the sorting plant. By the time this was done, the tide was low and they were unable to bring the bags bag to the water. Harvesting one line would take 2-3 days.

The team sat down and brainstormed a way to streamline their process. They  got educated in lean manufacturing and came up with the idea of a floating barge to aid in harvesting and grading. Using repurposed platforms from salmon aquaculture, they created a floating deck and built a garage on it. D’Eon also sourced an oyster grading machine from Australia called OysTek and set it up in the garage. They installed solar panels to power this barge, aiming to keep the area quiet and use a sustainable energy source. The barge can run up to three days even if there is a shortage of sunlight, and they have had no problems with operating it since its inception.

This innovation reduced a 2-3 day task to a mere 6.5 hours and cutting out 25% of the laborious steps, all powered by the silent energy of the sun.

Pairing Perfection: How to Enjoy D’Eon Oysters

Nolan recommends pairing his oysters with white wine from the L’Acadie Blanc varietal of grapes. One such wine can be found from Grand Pré Wines, with aromas of fresh-cut hay and herbal notes with a grapefruit acidity.

Nolan noted that the saltmarshes used by Acadians in the past to produce salt hay impart a unique flavour to his oysters. No doubt why it pairs so well with L’Acadie Blanc! It’s a merging of terroir and merroir.

Nolan also recommends trying his oysters with cucumber ice. To make cucumber ice, you’ll need:

Looking to the Horizon

Despite facing regulatory hurdles and the natural challenges of biofouling, D’Eon continues to push forward. With Nolan recently honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia, they reaffirm their commitment to quality and sustainability. “It’s not just a job for us, it’s a passion,” they say, “and we hope that reflects through our products.”

A Promise on Every Plate

Their philosophy is simple yet profound: “If you wouldn’t want to see it on your plate, don’t put it on someone else’s.” This guiding principle ensures that every D’Eon oyster is not just safe to eat but a testament to their dedication to excellence.



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